Great Buddha Temple
|Giant Amitabha Statue |
Great Buddha Temple Photos
In 628, Tang Emperor Li Shimin asked people to build a temple to celebrate his mother's 60th birthday, so it was originally called Qingshou Temple (Celebrating Birthday Temple). In fact, the grottoes were built during the Northern Dynasties (386-581) and some Buddhist statues were carved at that time as well. There are 130 grottoes and 1,980 statues, which are divided into the Great Buddha Grotto, Cave of a Thousand Buddhas (Qian Fo Grotto), Buddha Cave (Arhat Cave) and Zhangba Buddha Grotto.
The Great Buddha Grotto stands in the center of this temple and is the largest cave. A gigantic Amitabha stands in the middle of this grotto, which is 20 meters (65.6 feet) high and whose fingers are two meters (6.56 feet) tall. It is the largest Buddha statue in Shaanxi Province. On either side stand Bodhisattva Dashizhi and Kwan-yin Bodhisattva who are both 17.6 meters (57.7 feet) high. They are called the 'Three Saints in Paradise'. In addition, many niches in the wall contain about 200 Buddha and Bodhisattva statues of various different sizes.
The Cave of a Thousand Buddhas (Qian Fo Grotto) is situated in the east of the Great Buddha Grotto. The main statue is Maitreya with his disciples, Bodhisattvas and Heracles standing besides him. In other niches, most of the statues consist of one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas or one Buddha with two disciples and two Bodhisattvas. The Bodhisattvas complete with graceful poses and flowery clothes look like beautiful dancers. Therefore, they are considered by many visitors to be 'the Venus's of the East'.
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Zhangba Buddha Grotto is located about 200 meters (218.7 yards) from the west of the Great Buddha Grotto. Nine small rock caves are scattered on the cliff, containing 108 statues carved in a simple and dignified style. The main statue is Zhangba Buddha which is about seven meters (23 feet) high. The two Bodhisattvas on either side are about six meters (19.7 feet) high.
The Buddhist statues and stone carvings reflect the exquisite art and style of sculpture of the Tang Dynasty. This temple also preserves 177 inscriptions and six stone tablets engraved by visitors throughout history. Moreover, according to the traditional Chinese calendar, on March 8th every year, a temple fair is held here.
1. Take the bus from Xian, Xianyang or Qian Mausoleum (Qian Ling) to Changwu or Pingliang and get off at the Great Buddha Temple.
2. Take bus to Binxian County, and then transfer a bus to Changwu and get off at the Great Buddha Temple.